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For any company, the challenges and the anticipation of dealing with unknowns can be overwhelming. For CRUSH AUSTIN 2017, Avalara’s national tax compliance conference on May 2–3 in Austin, Texas, we sat down with one of the conference speakers, Mike Maselli, senior director of product management, and discussed some of these business challenges. Mike told us what attendees can expect from his CRUSH session, which will focus on the powerful benefits of exemption certificate automation, and what he is most looking forward to at this year’s conference.

How does technology help speed sales tax compliance and reporting?

Technology helps with the efficiency and accuracy of being compliant. Technology makes it quick and easy to identify missing or expired certificates, as well as proactively send email, mail, or fax requests for updated forms. At the same time, mobile-, tablet-, and computer-friendly technology also integrates with ecommerce and in-store point of sale systems, providing the industry’s best way to capture correct information and automatically store it for future compliance needs.

The title for your session at CRUSH AUSTIN is “CertCapture Roadmap Update.” What are the key concepts you hope attendees take home?

We will be discussing the planned investments for new solutions and capabilities that we have scheduled for the next four quarters. We will also use this session to help prioritize the work, and ensure that we are building solutions that are best aligned with our customers’ biggest compliance document management needs.

Accounting professionals and business owners are attending CRUSH AUSTIN 2017; why would they need to know more about CertCapture to better serve their clients or get their job done?

CertCapture is a very powerful and flexible tool for managing business exemptions from sales tax, and it can be operated by accounting professionals on behalf of their clients. In addition, business owners who wish to sell products tax exempt, yet minimize their audit risk by utilizing a certificate management system, can also benefit from learning about the new packaging and pricing for small businesses.

Why do you feel businesses ignore, or are unaware of, automated certificate management, and what potential ramifications do the businesses face?

Some small businesses have never been audited — and hope they never will be audited — and continue to sell to some (or all) customers tax-free. Or, they have been limping along, using a homegrown system — probably a spreadsheet to track their certificates. These businesses don’t realize that a management tool not only automates customer requests for new documents when documents on file expire, but it also provides their customers with a secure online portal for completing and submitting new documents, ensuring the right form is completed accurately every time.

In addition, many companies do not know that we offer turnkey services for managing CertCapture as well as the handling of outbound requests and inbound document validations on their behalf. This frees their employees to focus on their core business, instead of worrying about other matters that Avalara can handle.

What are you looking forward to most at CRUSH AUSTIN?

I’m looking forward to engaging with new and existing customers, as well as learning more about how we can help drive more value to their business through our compliance document management solutions and services.

Join Mike Maselli for his session, “CertCapture Roadmap Update,” on May 2. For more information on CRUSH AUSTIN 2017, visit our website that includes all conference sessions, speaker bios, location information, after-hours activities, and more!